February 09, 2012
(Left) Jessica Matuszewski, a Mount Saint Mary College student
from Goshen, NY, helps care for a young patient in the Dominican
Republic. (Right) Sean Murphy, a Mount Saint Mary College student
from Port Jervis, NY, speaks with a family through an interpreter
during a health assessment in the Dominican Republic.
Nearly two dozen Mount Saint Mary College nursing students,
carrying a half ton of vitamins and medical supplies between them,
traveled to the Dominican Republic last month on a humanitarian
With faculty members Dianne Murphy and Ann Corcoran, they served
in the poorest communities -- the bateyes, or shantytowns – as
volunteers with the not-for-profit Foundation for Peace, dedicated
to helping people in materially impoverished areas by providing
educational support, healthcare access, economic opportunity, and
Last spring, professor Murphy, along with members of Sigma Theta
Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, visited the Dominican
Republic, where she helped with medical supplies, set up clinics,
and provided nursing care.
This year’s Mount group aided some 500 people each day during
the week of their journey.
Patients were treated or referred for skin infections, dental
problems and fungal infections. They often asked for vitamins and
bandages – long term needs -- sometimes overlooking a more serious
“A family came in asking for vitamins, but neglected to ask for
help for their little boy’s foot,” explained Jessica Matuszewski, a
Mount senior from Goshen, NY, who noticed a bad burn on the child’s
ankle and summoned the doctor.
Matuszewski got to assist in the procedure to debride the skin,
which according to Murphy is a painful surgical process, during
which dead or contaminated tissue and foreign matter is removed
from a wound. Debriding is so painful it is usually completed with
“We were only able to give this little boy two children’s
Tylenol and a lollipop,” said Murphy, noting the lack of health
care services available in the shantytowns.
Murphy hopes to expand the program next year to include
disciplines in addition to nursing, such as students in education
Students who served in the Dominican Republic include: Hudson
Valley Oncology Nursing Scholarship recipients Jennifer Maloy, New
Paltz, NY and Pamela Delano, Brentwood, NY; Amber McCafferty,
Newburgh, NY; Breann Quackenbush, Warwick, NY; Heather Knox,
Wappingers Falls, NY; Carolyn Doerrier, Bloomingburg, NY; Susan
Hannigan, Baldwin, NY; Tamara Seney, Newburgh, NY; Ashley Higgins,
LaGrangeville, NY; Sean Murphy, Port Jervis, NY; Julie Patterson,
Massapequa, NY; Samantha Cole, Brick, NJ; Margaret Brunton,
Brooklyn, NY; Alyssa Lonnborg, Broad Channel, NY; Erin McKeon,
Watertown, CT; Megan Lewis, Rocky Point, NY; Alexander
Peguero-Medrano, Newton, NJ; Jessica Matuszewski, Goshen, NY;
Natalie Tanski, West Paterson, NJ; Melissa Gaynor, Poughkeepsie,
NY; Andrea Guzman, Forest Hills, NY; Kerry Burke ‘11 RN, of
Poughkeepsie, NY, who works at White Plains Hospital; and Ron Vales
‘11 RN, of Maybrook, NY, who works at the Hospital for Special
Surgery in New York City.
Mount Saint Mary College offers the only nationally accredited
four year nursing degree program in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley,
and boasts a NCLEX-RN passage rate in the 90s to 100.
Students in this highly competitive program hone skills working
with computerized patient simulators in state of the art labs, and
also in clinical experience in the field, as they pursue their
bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing.
Mount graduates have been recognized in many areas. The New York
State Nurses Association bestowed its Nurse Administrator of the
Year award upon Margaret Armento-McDowell, president and
administrator of Bermac Home Health Aides, Inc. in New Paltz, NY.
Another Mount alumna, Margaret Deyo-Allers of St. Luke’s Cornwall
Hospital in Newburgh, NY, was named the Hudson Valley’s Top
The Mount is accredited by the Middle States Association of
Colleges and Schools, plus specialized accrediting commissions such
as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education